Africa: Time for Domestic tourism in Uganda

domestic

Domestic Tourism series

Consumer education on domestic tourism will make a very big difference in mindset change. I have decided to invest time in this campaign. I have a very strong feeling many of you are going to be national leaders in the near future. I want to contribute to your knowledge base through writing.

Last week, I defined a domestic tourist as person who leaves place A( A being kampala for example) and goes to place B( B being Gulu) and spends over 24hours but less than a year. Shouldn’t have a permanent job in place B

I said domestic tourist helps in redistribution of wealth already available within a country. When people with money move, money moves as well. And when people move, they spend. Our potential as Uganda can outstrip any other country in the region, from fertile soil to Mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, rich culture etc

Tourism generally speaking has the highest trickle down effect when compared to any other industry. I mentioned a few examples last week but it’s effects are far more reaching than I did mention.

Like I have said before, Uganda year in year out is the number one source to Kenyas tourism on the African continent. Over 200,000 ugandans visit Mombasa, Malindi and kenyas national parks every single year. It’s kenyas 3rd most important market in the world after US and UK.

Kati, for your info, East Africa has about 120,000 quality tourism rooms and yes, Kenya has about 80% , Tanzania has second highest, Uganda and Rwanda share the remaining. You can also see how many international chains operate in Kenya and the number of passengers kenyan airports handle.

Over 35,000 Ugandans visit Dubai every single year as tourists, over 30k Ugandans visit South Africa every single year, over 10k Ugandans visit Zanzibar every single year. Kenya thinks each Ugandan spends between usd 1500 to usd 2000.

Uganda only out paces kenya in export of food stuff to Kenya but Kenya for example has 4 banks( kenyan owned) operating in Uganda serving us even as far as Kabale. They have insurance companies operating here as well and owners operate to get profits. We don’t own the serious banks in our own country let alone owning one outside. Low ambitions.

The above shows you that Kenya as an example makes between usd 350m to usd 400m dollars from Uganda, clever! That can only make sense if Uganda also received same numbers of Kenyans spending same amounts in Uganda. The other alternative is Ugandans saying, oh we want to spend that money in Uganda instead?

The above spending power by Ugandans will reduce by about 40% we estimate because of the Covid19 challenges and the rest can be refocussed domestically or we pursue the Kenyan markets as a way of balancing.

Kenya has by far a bigger middle class who actually take on holidays and the reason they attract Ugandans is because Kenya tourism board does far better job than Uganda Tourism board. Numbers speak for themselves. Kenya engages our own media far more than Uganda Tourism board engages them about Uganda even. Kenyans don’t know what Uganda has.

There isn’t a single CEO of Uganda Tourism Board over years that I havent engaged on this topic and shared free useable knowledge. I have told them to simply target Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria if there isn’t enough budget. I hope some day things actually work. Private sector will need to push UTB like Kenya private sector pushes KTB.

The above scenerio is same as you earning your salary and straight away buying a Chinese product. You have no right in questioning why we are poor. We import products worth over 1b dollar from China every single year and through that we hand over jobs. We export less than usd 60m to China. Until we understand these basics, we can complain until Jesus returns, nothing will change.

Some people say, oh our earnings are so low as Ugandans, do you know see how scatter our earnings? A people that fights hard to empower themselves, stays strong economically and has a big say. The Jewish people for example make sure money moves amongst them at least 15 times or close to that before it leaves, Indians about 12 times but ffe, we borrow before we earn, money leaves us before it even reaches us.

Anyways, this week later, i will write about accommodations in and around protected areas. I want to give you some ideas from a practical point of view and you never know.

By Amos Wekesa

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